Today Eyes on Animals met with 3 people from the Dutch poultry industry. One representing NoviPluim (Broiler Breeders), one representing the Dutch Association of Poultry Producers (Bond van Pluimvee) and one was a transporter and trader of broiler breeders and slaughter hens. The aim of the meeting was to make sure the Dutch poultry industry knew of the problems we had reported on in our report Cracks in the Crate but to also brainstorm together on a new design of a transport crate that better protected the birds and assured access to them during the journey, and to discuss our ideas for how they could improve the welfare of poultry during catching and loading. Although catching-companies in the Netherlands have to be approved by a quality system, called IKB, this is only a piece of paper stating what rules the catchers should abide by during loading. Proper training could help avoid that birds (such as this one in the photo) become seriously injured during loading.
We had a very long and fruitful discussion, with some hopeful results. Together we are going to look into the possibility of a new crate patent, and they will look into the possibility of catchers receiving more thorough training in humane handling and loading. We will stay in contact and continue with our efforts.
All farmed animals are transported at least once in their lifetime. Journeys can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few weeks. Transport is known to be one of the most stressful experiences for animals. They are moved from a familiar territory to a new one and are held often under very crowded conditions. They get separated from each other and mixed with unfamiliar animals, which can lead to stress and fighting. Sometimes there is no water and feed available or the animals cannot reach it. Animals that wish to lie down during the journey are at risk of being trampled by the others. Sometimes conditions on board are very cold or very hot, leading to animals dying from hypothermia and suffocation. There are laws in place to prevent these types of problems, but there is very little official inspection during the journey to check if these laws are respected. Eyes on Animals regularly trails and checks livestock transport consignments to see if the welfare of the animals is respected during transit.